The Easy Beaded Cabinet Door DIY That Will Set Your Space Apart From The Rest

Kitchen cabinets can often be a mixed bag, particularly in older homes and rentals. Best case scenario, they are just plain and uninspiring. Worst-case scenario, ugly and unsightly. There are numerous creative approaches for DIY cabinet upgrades other than the more obvious tactics of replacing or refinishing them. One solution, which involves a stylish beaded look, has been cropping up on the web in places like TikTok and Instagram, where DIYers are turning boring cabinets into unique and sculptural pieces with a custom revamp.

Even better, it's an easy budget-friendly hack, available for the price of some sturdy adhesive, paint, and flat-back wooden beads like these from Amazon. This project is also a great DIY for renters, who can do an adapted version that restores the cabinets to their previous state when removed. If you love the look of wood pieces with a Victorian feel and exquisite millwork, this DIY can add tons of style and charm to your kitchen cabinets for very little expense and time. 

How to create beaded cabinet doors

To create a beaded border for cabinets, you will need (or need to make) an inlaid panel. The outer edge provides a guide and placement spots for the beads along the perimeter. Place them around the edge of the door with an adhesive like E-6000 until you've covered the entire door. Then prime and paint the cupboard with your desired shade or finish, making sure to sand the beads before application so they will take the finish better.

To create a renter-friendly hack, cover your cabinet doors in white peel-and-stick wallpaper, contact paper, or vinyl before adding your bead border. Like TikTok user @hotpinkpineapples, you may need to build up completely flat cabinets to provide that outside wood edge. Do this by adhering thin wood planks around the perimeter over the adhesive paper. Fill the joints with wood putty, then add the wood beads along the border before sanding and painting the wood surfaces.

Other wood applique designs

While the beads give a classic decorative millwork look to cabinets, many home stores are filled with other wood pieces that can be applied similarly to any cabinet or wood surface. They include block-like borders, scrolls, roping, floral details, and other cool shapes. Use E-6000 to attach them directly to the wood or create a removable surface with an adhesive cover then paint them as desired. Mix the wood appliques up for a truly unique and custom look. You can also use full beads instead of half beads, but you may need to fill any stringing holes with wood putty before painting.

This type of accent is also perfect for areas other than a kitchen, including other built-in cabinetry or standard-sized doors. It's also a great way to add a classic old-world flavor to pieces of furniture like headboards, dressers, armoires, and tables. The approach is also great for giving newer pre-fab pieces from places like IKEA a little bit of interest and visual character that you'd find on antiques and wares from more high-end retailers.